I have always known that St. Hildegard’s life and work is infused with Celtic Spirituality. It was during my doctoral program years ago, however, when I first discovered that the foundation of Celtic spirituality is Ancient Hinduism. The connection between the Celts and Ancient Hinduism fascinates me. The Celts are said to have found their way to West Asia during the Iron Ages!
Our roots run deep, don’t they?
It made me wonder – where were my roots? How deep did they run?
So, when one of my doctoral teachers, Clarissa Pinkola Estes encouraged us to explore our own roots, I was intrigued. Although I had lived in the United States for over 30 years, I realized that my roots were not actually here.
My roots are primarily Swiss.
That afternoon in my Gospel Singing Class I found myself pondering, “How could I sing my Swiss roots?”
I could sing them through yodeling, of course!
Right at that moment my teacher Jackie Hairston asked for someone in the class to sing something and picked me! And you guessed it, I started yodeling! I still remember the look of surprise on Jackie’s face. But she went with it and started leading the class in a gospel accompaniment to my yodel! Wow, what a feeling. I felt so totally empowered in my being Swiss that day!
I invite you now to have some fun! Want an insider view of my childhood and adolescence?! Click on this link to watch a video of children singing Vo Luzärn gäga Wäggis zue. The footage in this video is of the Central part of Switzerland, the land of my ancestors. Yes, I grew up singing this song and it is the song I sang in my Gospel Singing class all those years ago! Enjoy!
Clarissa Pinkola Estes was right, only when we have long strong roots will we live powerful and beautiful lives. My next trip to Switzerland will be in February of next year! If you haven’t read Clarissa’s incredible book: Women Who Run With the Wolves, I highly recommend you do. It is one of the most empowering books I have ever read.
In the mean time, may you connect to your roots and find great strength and joy in them.
It’s still dark when I wake up in the morning these days. The darkness seems to hang heavily upon the Earth, even as the house lights sparkle in the early hours of the morning.
Every year, at this time, I’m reminded of the time that I was pregnant with my son, Josh. What a gift the pregnancy was! And… what a fearful time too. I’d already had 2 miscarriages and was very sick. I was terrified I would lose this baby too. I remembered that my first pregnancy with my daughter had been very rough.
I recall working with a doula I had hired to help me during the pregnancy and birth. One day, she asked me, “What gives you strength?”
“Singing,” I answered. As soon as I said that word, I knew it would be music that would give me the strength that I needed for this pregnancy and birth. I started noticing songs on the radio that were being sent to support me. I started singing these songs. And these moments of healing music brought light and warmth into my days.
And, when it came time to birth my son, I even chanted music as he came into the world.
Now, of course, my son is a grown young man in high school. Each time I see him head out the door to DJ an event or listen to him working on his latest composition, I smile and remember the light that music is for me and how I now see that same light shine within him.
I invite you to take a moment and consider what gives you strength. How do you find the light in your life when you feel there is only darkness? Check out my blog post this week to access a song that will help you find your divine spark in times of darkness.
I am currently on Isla Mujeres, a gorgeous little island off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. David and I are here for a few days, soaking in the light of the Mexican Sun and the warmth of the Mayan culture. One of my favorite things about being here is that we get to drive around the island in a golf cart! (giggle)
I will close with this photo I took of the view from the hammock I am lying in on our terrace of our house Casa Vaya Vida (House What A Life!) as I write to you. May this photo inspire you to find whatever it is that will give you strength for your journey!
What brings you strength in times of trouble? As you know, I was recently in a car crash. While I was not physically hurt, the whole event did shake me up a bit. And so I turned to one of the greatest sources of strength I know, Psalm 91.
This Psalm came into my life during a very challenging time about ten years ago. I was going through a divorce, having heart surgery, and finishing my doctoral dissertation. All in the same year!
It was a difficult year where there were even moments when the pain was so bad, I fantasized about driving into ongoing traffic, hoping that I could then put an end to the pain I was in.
At this time, David and I were working together on my doctoral thesis. He was the peer on my dissertation committee. He knew how I was struggling and shared Psalm 91 with me. He told me that it had given him great strength and comfort in his life.
When I read Psalm 91, the words resonated with me in a powerful way. I decided to commit them to memory. Then, I could recite them whenever I wanted. This proved to be very helpful to me in the time to come!
After my heart surgery, I was waiting outside my surgeon’s office to have my post operation check up. While I sat there patiently waiting, feeling a bit anxious and still quite exhausted, I heard a melody bubble up inside me. I knew it was the melody to accompany the words to Psalm 91. I felt like it was a gift being given to me from angelic beings! I immediately picked up my phone and sang it as a voice message on David’s phone, so that I would have a recording of the melody.
Later that same night, while I was taking a bath, the second part of the melody came to me, and I quickly recorded it as well.
What a beautiful song it is now! David created the arrangement based on my guidance. Every time I listen to or sing this song, I am reminded of what I once heard Thich Nhat Hanh say that when you set sacred texts to music they become even more powerful. It certainly has become powerful for me!
Read the lyrics and listen to the song in my blog post this week, Psalm 91 in honor of the 6th anniversary of St. Hildegard being named a Doctor of the Church.
What sacred text do you cherish? Has it supported you through difficult times? Have you committed it to memory? Leave me a message and let me know.
As M. Scott Peck says at the beginning of his famous book, The Road Less Traveled, “Life is difficult.” Yes, it is… but we are given the strength and the tools to live our lives, no matter how challenging. I know this to be true.
At this time of year, a time when we endeavor to find our courage and strength, we’re called to awaken the love within our heart. To let it courageously flow to ourselves and out into the world to all living beings. Particularly to those who are suffering and in need…which really is everyone, in some way, in this world.
St. Hildegard’s song, Kyrie, has always helped me ignite that spark of love within me and spread warmth from my heart to my whole being and to others in the world. You can read more about this song and a spiritual practice you can use to awaken love within your heart in my blog post here.
The first time I heard this song was in a class in my doctoral program years ago. Norma Gentile, a sound shaman, was leading the class. She’d been performing St. Hildegard’s music for many years.
She began to teach us the first phrase of the Kyrie. As we created a circle, she encouraged some to go into the center of the circle and sing the first phrase. So, I joined this group! She had the rest of the class stay on the outside holding hands and singing, “Kyrie” on a sustained note. Norma then began to sing the whole song.
What arose was an amazing sound symphony within the room! I remember holding the hands of the two people next to me in the center of the sound circle. The energy of the sound was so powerful, I felt like I couldn’t breathe and I might faint. As I closed my eyes and crouched down to the floor, the image of a painting I had created of an elephant that had been shot by bullets came to my inner vision. I felt totally held by the people in the room as the singing came to an end.
The two people holding my hands then helped me to my feet. I then knew I needed to get outside into the healing power of Mother Nature. I walked out into the forest surrounding the retreat center where the program was being held and began to weep.
This was the beginning of my own healing journey. A moment of deep love and awakening. I let the love of the Creator flow through me. I knew what was being released would be about me changing and gaining strength.
I also knew that day that as I healed, I would help other beings…both human and non human…heal.
Is there a sadness in your heart that weighs you down? Do you wake up in the morning and wonder how you are going to find the strength to face the day? Do you long for a way to access a feeling of compassion towards some people who have hurt you in the past? Is there some one that you know who is really hurting and you would like to find a way to powerfully send them some healing love? I encourage you to access my blog and explore how St. Hildegard’s Kyrie and the practice I outline can be a part of your own healing and/or spiritual growth.
This song has changed my life. Let it change yours!
Every autumn as a chill arrives in the air, I’m reminded of how important guides are in my life to help me find my strength and courage.
Truly there are angels – in human form and nonhuman form – in my life, and they support me in finding my strength.
About ten years ago after having experienced years of intense pain in my pelvis, I suddenly lost all sensation there. I could feel nothing. As if it were frozen or nonexistent.
I desperately searched for someone to help heal this condition and ended up scheduling a session with a sound shaman.
So, there I was lying on a bed in a room in the Holiday Inn in Asheville, North Carolina with the sound shaman standing next to me. She began our session by calling upon Archangel Michael to be present. Partway through the session, I actually began to feel an energetic flow move through my pelvis.
And by the time I left, feeling had come back to my pelvis. Not only that, but as I walked outside into the world once gain, all of my senses seemed more alive, more radiant, more awake!
Colors were brighter. Plants and trees were glowing and sparkling. The air vibrated with warmth and life.
I felt expanded and light. I felt powerful and filled with a loving flow of energy!
Do you have a guide that helps you to dissolve your fear and find your courage to meet what comes in your path? Archangel Michael or someone else?
Here I share with you a meditation that I have found helpful, particularly at times when I feel fearful and call upon Archangel Michael. May it support you too in those moments along with a guide at your side.
Meditation for Courage
We must eradicate from the soul all fear and terror of what comes toward us out of the future.
We must look forward with absolute equanimity to everything that may come.
And we must think that whatever comes is given to us by a world directive full of wisdom.
It is part of what we must learn during this age,
namely to act out of pure trust
in the ever present help of the spiritual world;
Truly nothing else will do if our courage is not to fail us.
Therefore let us discipline our will,
and let us seek the awakening from within ourselves,
every morning and every evening.
I often think back to that day in the Holiday Inn, especially when I am facing a new problem and am tempted to think that there is no way to solve it. I encourage all of us during challenging times to remember past victories of faith, however small! With Divine help, miracles do happen.
St. Hildegard’s Feast Day was this week on the 17th. Every year at this time I reflect on how much St. Hildegard has inspired and even transformed my life. I’m so grateful!
I have posted my version of St. Hildegard’s song of praise to St. Rupert called “O Jerusalem” as part of my recent blog. I recorded this song in 2011 and to this day, whenever I need to get inspiration to move through fear and continue manifesting God’s will for me, I listen to this song and sing along.
I remember back in 2005 when I was beginning my work on my dissertation in one of my last classes for my doctorate. I was set on creating a curriculum in German and English about Hildegard of Bingen to be used in Waldorf schools. I was even testing out pieces as I was teaching in the classroom.
Then one day in my doctoral class, I was in meditation and I heard a voice speak to me that felt like St. Hildegard speaking directly to me. “Jeannine”, I heard her tell me, “you are not to do a curriculum for your dissertation. No, you are to put your healing journey, as it is inspired by me, on a stage. In doing this you will heal and you will also help others heal.”
I was not happy to receive this message. I didn’t want to do this! This was too intimate of a journey to share on a stage. I am an introvert. How would I even begin doing something like this?
I knew, however, that I was being called to do it. The pain of my own wounds arose within me and, in that, I could feel the pain of all women. I knew I needed to do this, even though I had no idea how.
I thought of St. Hildegard when she needed to move through resistance and other obstacles in her path in order to create her abbey. She, inspired by St. Rupert, was so determined and courageous to move forward.
Years ago, when I was overcome with overwhelm working on my doctoral dissertation, I knew I could not let my fear and anxiety stop me. I reached out to the Divine for help. Once I was able to do this and say yes whole heartedly to this endeavor, a wave of support came to me immediately. Things just began to appear to help me. Incredible funding came through, I found the artists who were meant to work with me very quickly. I was given energy and confidence. I became unstoppable!
During the two years after hearing St. Hildegard’s message, not only did I graduate with my Doctorate in Ministry, I also moved through the challenges of heart surgery and a divorce. At the center of those two years was the creation of my performance piece: “Feathers on the Breath of God”. As I performed the piece, I showed my timeless connection with St Hildegard and the empowering healing that resulted from this connection.
Sometimes, the messages we receive on our journey aren’t always the ones we hope for or want to hear. Yet, within, we know that we must listen to these messages and most importantly follow through on them.
What are you being called to create today? Even if you are not jumping for joy about it. Who inspires you like St. Hildegard inspired me?
St. Hildegard had the support of Volmar and her community of Benedictine sisters. Who supports you? I offer private sessions. Is there something in your life that you are wanting to give voice to but haven’t been able to yet? Let me support you to manifest your best creative life. Contact me for a free initial fifteen minute conversation so we can both determine if you would benefit from working with me privately.
I am currently sitting in the airport in Jacksonville, listening to the song “O Jerusalem” as I write this. David and I had five sweet days of deep relaxation and rest.
I will close with this photograph I took one morning walking on the beach at sunrise. I am beginning to sense that my life is somehow beginning a new these days. And I am grateful.
Blessing from Jacksonville airport!
PS Become inspired by St. Hildegard’s song, O Jerusalem. Go to my blog to access a recording I did of this song she wrote in honor of her creation, Rupertsberg. Curious? Find out more in my blog post this week.
A couple of weeks ago, I was in a car accident. Don’t worry, I’m okay. But, I tell you, something like this certainly makes you pause and reassess what is important in life.
I was driving…. and there in front of me in the middle of a one-lane highway was a car stopped with it’s left blinker on. “That’s strange,” I thought. I slowed down and was stopping behind the car in front of me, when I heard the screeching brakes. The car behind me scooted to the right and the pick up truck behind it smashed into me. I went smashing into the car stopped in front of me.
What was amazing is that as soon as I was hit, I immediately went into a deep meditative state. It felt like a host of angels was surrounding me, holding me and guiding me step by step. I felt calm. The paramedic in the ambulance took my vital signs and then asked, “Do you do yoga or something? I have never seen such great vital signs.” I told him I am a big fan of meditation. Somehow, a discussion about angels didn’t seem like the move at that moment!
Obstacles come into our path in life. Some we see and anticipate arising. Some are complete surprises. Often they come bearing a lesson to learn or messages for us to hear. Being open to listening and learning supports us in moving forward.
The obstacle may appear to slow us down, but, if we look closer, it builds our resilience for our next steps in life. We may make a slight detour to move through the obstacle, but then we gather our strength and courage. Then, we continue forward with more fortitude and determination to stay the course on our path.
Last week, I decided to go get a new car. I ended up buying a Porsche Macan (How I came to that decision is a story for another day!) And, I had to actually get in the car and drive it. If you have ever been in an accident before, you know this isn’t easy. It brings up fear and anxiety from the experience of the accident.
But I have to say, once I did this, I realized that every moment of my life now seems to take on an even brighter shining light. What arose within was the remembering that I love my life! I love my work! And, I want to savor every moment. What a deep appreciation I have for each and every moment in my life and for each and every one of you.
I know that soon the muscle soreness and headaches that are a result of the accident will subside, and I will have renewed strength to keep moving forward, shining my light. I remember I do have a light to shine in the world, and I am so grateful to be able to do this!
Through this ordeal, I once again recall the strength of St. Hildegard. How I admire her! Her resiliency and her courage to continue on her path, in the midst of enormous obstacles in her path, never ceases to amaze and inspire me. If you are needing a boost to gather your strength and courage right now, check out my blog post in honor of her feast day, September 17th and listen to a song I sing, LET YOUR LOVE FLOW.
All right, dear ones… I will be in Florida in a few days. My plan is to curl up by the Atlantic Ocean, the ocean of my Long Island childhood, and rest my aching bones. What a blessing….
Just recently I was out for a walk on a path near my house. Suddenly, as I was coming up a hill, a young man at the top of the hill on the path ahead of me put out his hand and shouted, “Stop, watch out!” As his dark eyes pierced my heart, I could feel the powerful love of his presence. He reminded me of Archangel Michael. I was so struck by his energy, I had no idea what he had said to me. As I came up the hill, he put his arm around me and guided me to the side of the path. At that moment, I saw it…a huge rattlesnake right in the middle of the path.
Isn’t it amazing how a Guide steps into our paths to intervene and point us in the right direction? This happens in our lives more than we are aware, I’m sure! For the Divine is always there, working behind the scenes to awaken us to our journeys in life.
As you know, one of the most powerful Guides in my life is St. Hildegard of Bingen. I have recently been reconnecting with St. Hildegard as her feast day approaches soon on September 17th. I remember vividly the day she first came into my life. I had just returned to New York City in 1987 after a year of living with the Otomi Indians in Mexico, where I had been part of a religious community of Catholic nuns. I was their “lay missioner” and was horrified by the nuns’ attitude toward the Otomi belief system.
After my experience in Mexico, I was so angry at the Catholic Church, I wanted to scream at the Pope. And there I was shortly afterward in a workshop at the Marble Collegiate Church on 5th Avenue, with Matthew Fox, the author of the best seller: Original Blessing.
At the time, Matthew was a Catholic priest, and when the workshop ended I went up to him and started sharing my agony. “What is the deal with the Catholic Church? Why do they teach us to shut down our bodies? To shut down indigenous people? To shut down women, and men for that matter? To shut down our creativity?”
Matthew smiled compassionately and asked me how I connected to God. “Well,” I said very timidly, “I sing.” He then said very slowly, “Jeannine, you should check out St. Hildegard of Bingen.”
And I did…. I read everything I could find about her and discovered her word–Viriditas.
All my life I had looked for Viriditas, that greening power in all of God’s creation, and everywhere I found it, I found myself singing.
…and all the while St. Hildegard and her music had been waiting for me.
I was in my thirties when I joined the Ars Nova Choir in Boulder, Colorado and began singing St. Hildegard’s music.
Now, I was singing her music. Now, I was connecting to the Divine like never before!
Have you had experiences like this before? Where someone or something steps into the path in your life and points you in the right direction? If not, I encourage you to pay close attention during the next week or two. You may be surprised in how much Divine intervention comes your way! Who knows, it may even be St. Hildegard who shows up!
Speaking of Divine intervention, be sure to tune in next week when I will tell you about my latest experience with a host of angels!
All right my friends. I am off to work on the next Module of Visionary Business School. The Module is called: Mastering Client Attraction.
Stay tuned. Being in this business program has inspired me to write a little guidance booklet to accompany the music from Feathers On The Breath Of God. Both the music and guidance booklet will be available for free next month!
Sending so much love…
P.S. If you would like access to many audio recordings with guidance on how to use them in your life, become a member of my Free Healing Library on the doctorofthesoul website. Click here to join!
I start my day by making myself a cup of Earl Gray tea with coconut cream and then going into my office and sitting in front of my altar. I light a candle and sip my tea as I slowly and gently begin my prayer and meditation practice. How I look forward each day to this dedicated time in my sacred space. I start by connecting with the God of my understanding, seeking knowledge of the Divine’s will for me and the power to carry that out.
This week I want to share 3 Tips for Creating a Sacred Space with you.
Having a special space in your home that is designated as sacred can help you to take a moment to pause during the day and remember the Divine. This space can be used for prayer, meditation, and reflection.
You want it to warm your heart like a wonderful hug from a loved one. This space is for you… your health… your life.
Here are a few tips to get you started.
1. Find the best location in your home.
Look for a space that is quiet, separate from activity in the house.A place that feels comfortable and protected to you. Where you can relax and not be surprised by someone opening a door or walking up behind you.
Not sure where, as space is limited in your home? Be creative. Look for a corner not being used. Add a curtain or a screen to make it more protected.
Or maybe there is a bookshelf, windowsill or the top of a dresser you could clear off.
Or how about a small stand or wooden box turned upside down and placed in a quiet place?
2. Make it comfortable and nurturing.
Take a closer look and see what is around your new space.. Consider how these will support you or maybe distract you.
Having a nearby chair or a special pillow to sit on just for your sacred space will help you to be able to feel comfortable and to relax within the space.
What lighting would you like? A lamp nearby that emits warm light or just the light of a candle? Maybe the natural light that shines in a window nearby?
This is a healing space to nurture you and your body-spirit connection. Be sure it’s a space where you can come to calm and center. Where you can step away from the rest of the world into quiet solitude.
3. Ensoul the space with meaning and beauty.
Look around your home for items to add to your sacred space. They don’t have to be elaborate or expensive. Look for things that are meaningful to you.
Maybe a cloth to bring color to your space? Then some special items placed on it.
Things from the natural world such as a plant, stones, or a feather may be important pieces for grounding and connection.
What else do you want to include? Consider:
a candle with matches
a diffuser for essential oils
a meaningful poem or verse
a small statue of a god or goddess that is important to you
a photo of inspiration
Arrange all of your special pieces with beauty in your sacred space.
Looking for more ideas of special items? How about these?
prayer or mala beads
inspirational or devotional books
a vision board
a photo of a spiritual teacher, mentor or beloved ancestor
Once your sacred space is ready, you can begin using it for deep breathing, meditation, and reflection. Connecting to the Divine within will bring you a sense of peace and harmony. You’ll find yourself calmer, happier, and ready to enter back into your daily life with ease.
For those of you who already have a sacred space, give it a little TLC this week. If you don’t have a sacred space yet, I encourage you to make one this week. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Start with a simple candle and a copy of your favorite poem. Your space will grow with you over time.
Finally, I invite you to share a photo of your sacred space with me. Let’s inspire each other!
The Doctor of the Soul – Healing with Mantra series scheduled to begin on September 1st has been postponed. New dates will be announced soon.
Dear Viriditas Community,
This week I am going to write about something that is very near and dear to my heart. I am going to share The 5 Healing Benefits of Art as a Meditative Practice with you.
As some of you know I have experienced some profound healings over the years. I healed a congenital heart condition. I overcame debilitating panic attacks. I healed a pelvis that was frozen in pain. Art as a Meditative Practice has been the foundation of all of these healings.
Think back to a moment when you have created something – created anything at all. Something where you were fully immersed in the moment in time, away from all other distractions.
How did you feel?
From where were you inspired?
What seemed to want to express itself through you?
As creator, as artist, a vibrant flow of energy flows through your whole body. You know you are part of something greater.
The Divine flow that moves you needs to come to earth, in physical form. To express itself in form through you, the artist.
Meister Eckhart says it beautifully, “Whatever I want to express in its truest meaning must emerge from within me and pass through an inner form. It cannot come from outside to the inside but must emerge from within.”
Fueled with the breath of inspiration from within, you, the artist, begin to paint, sing a song, move in dance, write words, cook a delicious meal or use other materials for expression in creating.
The outer world of daily tasks and the chatter in your mind both disappear, and your focus comes to the task before you.
You can feel the call from within, and you know it’s time to take action.
So, you begin.
You lose track of what’s outside in the world – schedules, tasks, and time. Your thoughts dissolve. This vibrant creative force infuses your whole being. You feel fully alive. And joyfully engaged.
Your process may be smooth and flow easily at times. It may be bumpy and chaotic at other times. It may move quickly. Or slowly.
But, it’s not time for judgment or critique. Nor for thinking. This is the time for presence in the moment. Surrendering to the process and that which moves you from within.
And when your creative moment is done for that day, you are pleasantly drained, for you feel complete. You are grateful. And now satisfied, you rest peacefully.
The sweet nectar of the Divine has been brought to Earth through you.
Creating art, when focusing on the process and not product, can help us to access a meditative state, tapping into a deeper and quieter part of ourselves. A place of inner stillness without the busyness of the mind.
Here we can enter a feeling of flow and freedom, free of judgment, separation, and physical boundaries. A space without limits. A space for self-discovery and expression. An opportunity for healing.
Human beings are naturally creative. It is part of our nature.
And being creative brings us back to this state – our true nature.
Our true nature that brings us to a place of balance and a place of health.
When was the last time you engaged in art in a way that created a meditative state? Too long?
Maybe you don’t think of yourself as an artist? The good news is you don’t have to! You are a creator – one who creates out of the materials that long to be used for creation.
As human beings, we are naturally creative.
You may be pleasantly surprised to discover how much art you have inside of you. Yearning to be discovered and come out in the world.
Which art calls to you today?
Using objects – beads, glass, jewelry
As you engage in art, in creating, energy begins to flow. For energy flows toward creativity.
And where energy flows, a powerful healing force can arise. For yourself. And for the world.
How can art be a meditative practice in your life? So you can….
1. Enter into self-discovery and self-expression.
2. Step out of the busyness of the day and the mind, to a state of presence.
3. Engage in a creative process with flow and freedom.
4. Connect with the Divine through inspiration.
5. Begin the flow of a powerful healing force.
“Creativity is not a solitary movement. This is its power. Whatever is touched by it, whoever hears it, sees it, senses it, knows it, is fed. That is why beholding someone else’s creative word, images, idea, fills us up, and inspires us to our own creative work. A single creative act has the potential to feed a continent. One creative act can cause a torrent to break through stone.” – Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Don’t hesitate… Spend even five minutes today creating something out of the depths of your unique soul. I guarantee you won’t regret it! And neither will the rest of the world!
And then send me a little note telling me about your creation!